Project Safety First

Mountain States Health Alliance Project Safety First

Project: SAFETYfirst is the official name given to the advanced integrated clinical information system that will eventually provide electronic clinical documentation and online Medical Records for all Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) patients.

This $38 million dollar commitment is the largest capital expenditure in the history of Mountain States Health Alliance since its creation in 1998. A contract was signed on December 23, 2003 following Board of Director approval, with Siemens Medical Solutions - the vendor and technology partner with MSHA for implementing this exciting new technology. These new technologies will place MSHA in an elite group of less than 5% of all hospitals and healthcare systems in the country with this capability.

Project Safety FirstThe new system will be built and installed throughout MSHA facilities over the next 5 years. Project: SAFETYfirstrepresents MSHA's continuing commitment to Patient-Centered Care by providing for more efficient and accurate care delivery through a seamless transmission of patient information, care reminders, abnormal results' alerts, and communications between clinicians, regardless of where the patient is located or previously received care across MSHA facilities. Outpatients and emergency patients, as well as inpatients will be included in the clinical documentation system.

MSHA is implementing this program in part to have a major impact on the rate of medical errors which normally occur in all medical facilities across the country. By keeping a single, linked network of information about a patient's medical treatments - from their medications to what types of physical therapy they are receiving - the clinicians are able to decrease the rate of medical mistakes from lack of communication, illegibility of handwritten orders, or errors in medication administration.

Some of the advancements that will be brought about through this advanced technology will be the creation of an information link that will provide immediate updates regarding patient status and test results directly to nurses and physicians.  Bar codes on patient wrist bands and medications will help insure that the proper medication is being given in the correct dosage at the correct time and to the correct patient, thus significantly reducing life-threatening medication errors.

Another positive outcome of this implementation will be that the latest "best practices" in medical research and expert knowledge can be made available to all clinicians at the place and point where care decisions are being made. The cumbersome and slow manual paper medical record will be replaced by a paperless and fast electronic record - and as clinical personnel are freed from manual documentation in paper records, those improved efficiencies will allow for more personal interaction between healthcare providers and their patients.

Siemens' Soarian system was chosen through a two-year, multi-vendor, team-member based selection process involving more than 100 physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other clinical professionals and systems technical staff at MSHA.